FAQs

All Notaries

What are the qualifications for a notary public?
A notary public must be 18 years of age, a resident of or principally employed in the county from which he/she makes application, of good moral character and capable of discharging the duties imposed upon him/her by law.

What is a notary authorized to do?
A notary public can administer oaths and take proof of execution and acknowledgements of instruments. An acknowledgement is a verification that the person whose signature appears on the document is the person who appears before you and whose identity you took reasonable steps to verify.

Can I acknowledge a signature that was placed on the document before it was brought to me for notarization?
Yes, but you must verify that the signature on the document matches the signature on the identification the signer presented to you and the signature of the signer in your journal.

How does a notary acknowledge a document?
To acknowledge a document, a notary must first identify the signer to be the person whose name is signed to the document. The identification can be made through personal knowledge or appropriate credentials, such as a driver's license. The notary then completes the certificate of acknowledgement by writing or typing on the document the appropriate "acknowledged before me" phrase and signing his or her own name and commission expiration date underneath. The acknowledgement phrase is often pre-printed, in which case the notary merely fills in the blanks.

What is a jurat?
A jurat is a signature made under oath. In this instance, you must watch the signer sign the document.

What is the difference between an acknowledgement and a jurat?
An acknowledgement authenticates a signature, proving that the signer personally appeared before the notary; the notary identified the signer; and the signature on the document matches the signature on the identification the signer presented to the notary and the signature in the notary's journal. A jurat authenticates a signature made under oath or affirmation, proving that the signer personally appeared before and positively identified by the notary; the notary placed the signer under oath; and the notary watched the signature being made. Unlike an acknowledgement, for a jurat, the notary must place the signer under oath and watch the signature being made.

What types of oaths is a Kentucky notary authorized to administer?
A Kentucky notary public is authorized to administer most types of oaths, which fall into two categories: (1) oaths of office, and (2) oaths of testimony.

Some oaths of office must be administered by a specific official other than a notary. If you are uncertain, ask for legal advice. State law sets forth the form of the oath of office for most public officials.

The oath of testimony is used to spear a person to the truthfulness of his/her statement (written or oral): "Do you solemnly swear to tell (or write) the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" or "Do you swear or affirm to tell (or write) the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?" Depositions, affidavits, hearings and government documents are common occasions for the use of an oath of testimony.

Can I notarize something for myself?
No. Although self-notarization is not specifically prohibited by statute, the practice would defeat the purpose of a certificate of acknowledgement, which is to obtain independent, reliable confirmation of the act of signing a document.

Can I notarize documents for my family?
There is no specific prohibition against notarizing for a family member. However, to avoid any possible challenges based upon allegation of bias, conflict of interest or other impropriety, you should probably avoid the practice.

For what period of time is a notary appointment issued?
A notary public's term of office is 4 years.

What is the fee to become a notary?
The fee to apply to become a notary is $10.00. Applicants should submit the fee with their applications; checks should be made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer.

What is the oath of office for a notary?
A notary's oath is: "I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of notary public according to law; and I do further solemnly swear that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State, nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God."

If my name has changed since my notary certificate was issued, what name should I use?
You should use the name that appears on your certificate; you may put your new name in parentheses if you would like.

Notaries Public State at Large

What happens after you send in the application and fee?
If the Secretary of State approves your application and makes the appointment, the certificate of appointment will be sent to the county court clerk of the county of application and send you a letter notifying you of your appointment. Within 30 days of receiving your letter, you must go to the county clerk's office and (1) take the oath, (2) post bond, and (3) file and record your appointment.

What happens if you forget to take the oath and file the bond within the 30-day period?
If you fail to take the oath of office and post bond within the 30-day filing period or a reasonable time thereafter, your office becomes vacant. If you still wish to be appointed a notary, you will have to send another completed application and pay another $10 fee to the Secretary of State.

What are the bond requirements?
Bond requirements vary by county; please contact your county clerk for specific information.

What is the procedure for cancelation of a notary bond?
Cancelation of a notary bond is not specifically addressed in statutes, but suggested courses of action could include:
(1) The surety could contact the notary stating they no longer wish to serve as surety and ask the notary to voluntarily obtain another surety; a subsequent posting and recording of the bond at that county clerk would then be required.
(2) If the notary does not voluntarily obtain another surety, the surety could petition the district court to issue an order removing the surety from the notary's bond, and the order of removal could be filed with the county clerk.

Notaries Public Special Commission

What is a notary public special commission?
A notary public special commission is a resident or non-resident of Kentucky who is appointed by the Governor of Kentucky to perform notarial acts inside or outside of this state covering documents to be recorded in Kentucky.

Is a notary public special commission authorized to perform the same acts as a regular notary?
No. The appointment to the office of notary public special commission is separate from a state-at-large appointment, and notaries public special commission are specifically limited to performing notarial acts for documents to be recorded in Kentucky.

What is the process for becoming a notary public special commission?
An application for appointment to notary public special commission can be obtained from the Secretary of State's office or county clerk. The completed application must be signed by a circuit judge, circuit clerk, county judge/executive, county clerk, justice of the peace (magistrate) or member of the General Assembly of the county of application. After the application has been filed with the Secretary of State, you will receive a Notice of Appointment and printed Oath of Office. Pursuant to KRS 62.010, you must take the Oath within 30 days after you receive your Notice of Appointment. After the Oath has been administered, it must be returned to the Secretary of State within 30 days from the date of your Notice of Appointment letter. Upon the Secretary of State's receipt of the Oath, the Governor will issue the applicant the Commission to Office.

Is a bond required for a notary public special commission?
No bond is required for a notary public special commission. However, an oath of office is required.

Can a person be both a notary public special commission and a notary public state at large?
Yes, but two different applications with separate filing fees must be submitted.